10 Facts About Old Persian


Old Persian is one of the two directly attested Old Iranian languages and is the ancestor of Middle Persian.

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Examples of Old Persian have been found in what is Iran, Romania, Armenia, Bahrain, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt, with the most important attestation by far being the contents of the Behistun Inscription.

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Recent research into the vast Persepolis Fortification Archive at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago unearthed Old Persian tablets, which suggest Old Persian was a written language in use for practical recording and not only for royal display.

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Old Persian is one of the oldest Indo-European languages which are attested in original texts.

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Also, as Old Persian contains many words from another extinct Iranian language, Median, according to P O Skjærvø it is probable that Old Persian had already been spoken before the formation of the Achaemenid Empire and was spoken during most of the first half of the first millennium BCE.

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Old Persian belongs to the Iranian language family, a branch of the Indo-Iranian language family, itself within the large family of Indo-European languages.

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The extinct and unattested Median language is another Old Iranian language related to Old Persian; both are classified as Western Iranian languages, and many Median names appear in Old Persian texts.

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Middle Persian, sometimes called Pahlavi, is a direct continuation of Old Persian and was used as the written official language of the country.

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Old Persian texts were written from left to right in the syllabic Old Persian cuneiform script and had 36 phonetic characters and 8 logograms.

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Also, the analysis of certain Old Persian inscriptions are "supposed or claimed" to predate Darius the Great.

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